Microsoft criticized for Open XML petition

An online petition posted by Microsoft to fast-track the standardization of its Office Open XML document format masks the company's concern over the procedure, according to a leading open-source advocate. The petition is an attempt to make it appear that Open XML has "pseudo-grassroots" support, argues Mark Taylor, the founder of the Open Source Consortium. "In the open-source world, there's clearly a massive grassroots thing," Taylor told ZDNet UK on Thursday. "One of the lessons Microsoft has been trying to learn from open source is that--but they have to fake it. If there was any grassroots support behind it, the time to have done (the petition) would have been ages ago."

The petition, which was uploaded to Microsoft's U.K. site on March 29, asks businesses to show their support for the Open XML format being fast-tracked through the standardization process at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The format is integral to Office 2007, but Microsoft is pushing it as an international open standard for documents, spreadsheets and presentations. "We already have an international standard, the OpenDocument format, and governments are increasingly adopting it," said Taylor on Thursday. "Having a second standard is utterly unnecessary."

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